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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jul 21, 2011 10:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1974

I think there is an intuitive sense of what "sounds right" that musicians have which will tend to keep key sequences somewhat harmonious even without any intellectual awareness of trying to do so. The only specific comment I saw in an interview was a comment about trying to avoid sequences that sound too similar, I think Jerry said "If Weir has just done a blues in E, I won't do a blues in E" - although semi-ironically, from my perception, is that a big jam with blues elements centered around E was actually one of the GD's most common elements, because Truckin, He's Gone, Other One, Smokestack Lightning, Nobody's Fault but Mine are all songs that center around E and make use of a lot of blues-related material. Of course, the Other One is certainly not a blues, but the triplet rhythm and pentatonic runs certainly fit into that context, which is exactly why the Truckin Other One pairing was so natural.

I doubt anyone but Phil in the band was very likely to have much awareness of the systematic theory of tonal relationships on the larger scale, rock musicians just never talk about stuff like secondary dominants and establishing a large-scale tonic for multiple songs.

I think that the most musically valid ideas will tend to sound the best, so I suspect there is a subconscious, indirect influence. Any time the band used a "sandwich" structure to organize a set, that inevitably creates a sense of travel away and return to a musical base, so there is kind of a large scale tonicization that takes place within that structure, regardless of the exact keys used.

In general we hear motion to keys with more sharps as being bright and energetic, and motion to keys with less sharps as being relaxed and spacious, and musicians tend to internalize that and deploy it instinctively.

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Poster: unclejohn52 Date: Jul 21, 2011 11:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1974

wow... for me this is kind of an "aha" moment. As a rank amateur musician (hand me my old guitar) I've naturally been curious how so many of these combinations work, and unlocking them is a wonderful thing.

I agree that JG's statement about the blues in E is ironic- when you push past all the songs they did in G-C-D or C-F-G, a great many center around very similar riffs in E as you mentioned - wouldn't these also include Don't Ease, Althea, Brown-Eyed Women and others. (edit - also New Speedway Boogie, New Minglewood Blues...)

I don't know about everyone else - but I love these musical discussions (esp. words like "tonicization". Much gratitude for your posts.

This post was modified by unclejohn52 on 2011-07-21 18:04:56

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Poster: wisconsindead Date: Jul 21, 2011 12:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1974

i agree. I just wish I knew what they meant. I've been meaning to learn music but I just never get around to it. It would definitely clarify more of whats going on, but its all so cosmic that maybe im better in my nebula.

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Poster: midnightcarousel Date: Jul 21, 2011 12:05pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1974

Truckin' and Other one may not be blues in terms of song structure, but they both make extensive use of the E blues scale.